EXCLUSIVE: Buhari administration plotting to break Nigerian law in award of $800million contract

President Muhammadu Buhari
President Muhammadu Buhari

The Muhammadu Buhari administration is scheming to grant special but illegal concession to an American power distribution company for the rehabilitation of high-voltage transmission lines across the country, in a deal that could breach the country’s extant procurement provisions, PREMIUM TIMES can report.

This newspaper has obtained documents showing how bureaucrats and politicians are strategising to award the $800 million contract to CTC Global, an electric utility firm based in California.

Should the administration proceed with the contract in the manner being planned, the award would make an absolute mockery of the administration’s platitudes about fighting corruption, some administration insiders told PREMIUM TIMES.

Already, Abubakar Atiku, the managing director of Transmission Company of Nigeria, has forwarded a recommendation letter for the award of the contract to CTC Global to Tunde Fashola, the minister of works, power and housing.

After making effusive case for a blanket adoption of CTC Global, without any competitive bidding, Mr. Atiku urged the minister to “accept the initial proposal” and “provide” a contract letter to the firm.

In the letter, dated November 18, 2016, Mr. Atiku said the deal would see Nigeria’s existing 330KV and 132 KV power transmission cables upgraded from the current Aluminium Conductor Steel Reinforced (ACSRs) types to Aluminium Conductor Composite Core Conductors (ACCC).

The ACCC is an improved technology that has twice the capacity of the ACSRs and can easily be retrofitted on the existing lines, eliminating the hurdles of dismantling current cables to lay new ones, experts say.

But the modality being adopted for the award of the contract appears a contravention of federal laws on award of contracts which require open advertisement and competitive bidding for government jobs and supplies.

Under Nigerian Public Procurement Act (PPA), the $800 million contract should go through open competitive bidding.

The Act, enacted in 2007, prescribes principles by which public procurement entities within the various Ministries, Departments and Agencies should conduct their affairs. The principles, which include honesty, integrity, transparency, accountability, fair competition, economy and efficiency and value for money, apply to all transactions, large or small, and describe the behaviour expected of every public officer in the conduct of public procurement. The spirit of the Act is to offer all interested contractors, suppliers and consultants a level playing field on which to compete and thereby, directly expand the purchaser’s options and opportunities.

It is also to serve as a key deterrent to collusion and corruption, submission of inflated or deflated tenders, followed by delayed or defective performance. The law also frowns at procurement officials betraying and abusing public trust for personal gain.

Officials said the TCN and the power ministry cannot hide under the restricted tendering provisions under Section 40 of the Procurement Act to award the contract to the American firm because CTC Global is not the only producer or supplier of Aluminium Conductor Composite Core Conductors in the world.

Section 40 of the Act says: “Subject to the approval by the Bureau, a procuring entity may for reasons of economy and efficiency engage in procurement by means of restricted tendering if : (a) the goods, works or services are available only from a limited number of suppliers or contractors ; (b) the time and cost required to examine and evaluate a large number of tenders is disproportionate to the value of the goods, works or services to be procured ; or (c) the procedure is used as an exception rather than norm…”

Apart from its legal implications, taxpayers stand to lose billions of naira should the deal proceed in its current form, some officials said.

Insiders: Contract to be funded from $30 billion loan

Some Officials familiar with the matter told PREMIUM TIMES that the government might pay an additional 25 per cent of the contract sum to CTC Global before installation, bringing the total project sum to $1 billion.

The $800 million is the estimated cost for the supply of the conductors only.

The deal is expected to be funded from the $30 billion loan being sought by President Buhari.

Insiders said that was one of the reasons the president failed to provide details of how the loan would be spent and repaid when he sent a request for its approval to the National Assembly.

Officials at the power ministry said the $1 billion proposed for the project could fund 2,000MW of clean coal power plant.

“This will be in addition to about four million tonnes of coal energy that could be generated out of which two million could be exported for much-needed foreign exchange,” one official said.

There are also questions about why President Buhari wants to spend heavily on transmission when several power plants built by his predecessors — especially the ones built by President Olusegun Obasanjo — are deteriorating due to their idleness.

The $1 billion, they said, could be channelled towards production of gas to power existing power plants for improved output for the country.

The revamping of the transmission lines can be done in phases, rather than sinking $1 billion in a lump sum when there is no energy to transmit, the officials said.

The insiders also said Manitoba Hydro, a Canadian energy company that ran the Transmission Company of Nigeria for a while, had in the past scrutinised the proposed project and rejected it.

The transmission lines upgrade contract, they said, was turned down by Manitoba because it had no proof of concept.

A proof of concept serves as guide for government officials working on awarding contracts.

Since there is little proof to show that it had worked before, chances are that the $800 million could end up not achieving its purpose, one concerned official said.

CTC Global and previous government contracts

This is not the first time the company would be handed contract without compliance with Nigeria’s procurement laws.

In March 2012, CTC Global got a N3.2 billion contract for the re-conductoring of Onitsha-Alaoji 330KV power transmission line.

There was also no competitive bidding as required by Nigeria’s procurement law.

The equipment supplied by CTC Global for that project was abandoned at the ports for years.

In 2016, the government had to budget N2.4 billion to pay demurrage and other avoidable charges before clearing the supplies.

TCN, CTC Global elusive

The main actors involved in the ongoing negotiations for the deal rebuffed PREMIUM TIMES’ efforts to get them to comment for this story.

Seun Olagunju, the spokesperson for the TCN, asked for more time for her to gather information on the contract.

She said she would get back to us after the Christmas and Boxing Day holidays.

She is yet to do so. And several calls and text messages to her telephone were neither answered nor returned.

Carl Ulrich, the Senior Vice President in charge of international business development at CTC Global, sent a response which did not answer the questions posed to him.

He responded to our questions by explaining the benefits of the project.

When reminded that the enquiries were specifically about the special consideration his company was being granted and its possible violation of Nigerian laws, Mr. Ulrich failed to respond for three days.

Questions about why past supplies by CTC Global were abandoned at the port for years were also not responded to.


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  • iwe paul

    money for the boys. we are watching.

    • Iskacountryman

      what else is new?

  • Fred Duke

    Whenever they want to loot the Nigerian people dry, several things would happen. 1. Their phones would not be reachable. 2. Their text message app would malfunction causing them not to respond, because they have no response. 3. The project would be so urgent that approvals would be instant. 4.The actors would be very busy. 5. Even their aides and spokespersons would become illterates overnight. This country is whack! The leaders all get cursed the day they enter the office. Sometimes I just laugh abt these fools because this is why God strikes them with sicknesses that demand foreign medical care. This is why the ordinary citizen should not pay tax because the little that we’ve paid so far are squandered. Buhari should start setting his priorities and stop all these charades. How come he’s yet to sack someone despite all these funny stories? That project should be scrapped an the money invested in coal powered plants or in producing and distributing gas for existing gas plants. Dull and mentally ill leaders.

  • Alpha

    Fashola the magician is at work! Did you not hear him educating us why we should not expect the gencos, transcos and discos to perform: because NEPA/phcn had tried and failed for 60 years, so why should we expect these new entities to succeed so soon?

    But ask fashola, did these people not inherit the assets of nepa? Were these new companies starting generating, transmitting and distrbuting anew. Did’nt NEPA provide meters? Did’nt NEPA provide meters? Were they not supposed to improve on the previous situation that neccesitated them into being?

    We are watching.

    • Fred Duke

      We should even be asking whether the new companies did not carry out assessments before taking over. I’m not surprised because some people are just good in giving excuses. These are companies who willingly took over NEPA and are now talking gibberish. And Fashola expects us to say “yes sir”. Obama took over the US at when it was completely messed up and cleaned it up without complaining even once.

      • Alpha

        I suspect conflict of interest in the case of Fashola. No rational mind will spew those gibberish without ulterior motive. The problem is nobody is in charge, I.e, querry such obvious scandalous statements at the top.

      • Truetalk

        Is it Fashola that gave out NEPA(PHCN) to the new companies without due assessment?

        • Fred Duke

          No, Fashola shd be the best person to know that these companies bidded for this takeover. And they were to take over both assets and liabilities. They knew the true state of NEPA when they wanted it. Why didn’t they allow other companies to acquire NEPA. Do they have any right to come and kill us?

  • okpada

    Please the GENCOS are generating power but there is no affective /adequate transmission system in place. Almost all our transmission lines are either obsolete or packup due to official neglect. In a nutshell, transmission is the MAJOR problem we have in power generation and distribution today.

    • Democrate

      BID

  • isaac

    This is a big rip off. Instead of upgrade, let the old system remain since it is still functional. Any other new contract in high voltage lines can then be based on the new technology period.

  • Rommel

    One good thing that Obama achieved has been making operations of American companies more transparent globally especially in developing nations like Nigeria, this means that at any time it is discovered that the American company shortchanged the country,it can always be resolved through legal means but whenever such innuendoes like we are hearing begin to shoot up,it usually is because certain interests believe that such amount of contract should not be awarded without them having a bite of the cherry,worthy as it seems but these companies never deliver,we remember that house power enquiry and how people like Abdulsalam Abubakar were involved with such dubious companies,the power situation in Nigeria is in crisis and if sole sourcing or direct sourcing will give us results,so be it.

    • share Idea

      So after reading this article, the only thing you could come up with is futile education of the gullible about Obama’s policy in America.

      The article is talking about how people appointed under your mr Integrity is floating laid down laws and rules fraudulently.

      • Gary

        When the e-rats cannot refute a scandalous report about their cult government, they resort to going on a tangent or muddying the waters to confuse the unwary. Or begin to troll the comments with obnoxious advertisements.

        It is more than clear to even the blind now that the Buhari government is equally as corrupt and neck-deep in graft just like the PDP. They have rewarded Bola Tinubu with oil-lifting deals and now it’s Atiku’s turn to get a billion-dollar no-bid contract for transmission lines. When there is no power to transmit. Abdulsalam made a bad investment in one of the power companies but rather than face the moral hazard of from it, he simply got Buhari to order the buy back of the company and the government refunded his money to him.
        All these by a party and regime that rode to power by denouncing the unbridled corruption of the PDP.
        While they are now rewarding the party bigwigs who funded Buhari’s election with contracts and hoping they won’t bolt from the APC if Buhari wants a second term, nobody is asking how the APC has funded its elections in Edo, Ondo and Rivers. It’s easy to guess that is the purview of key figures of the kitchen cabinet and the financial scandals linked to them. And reason why Buhari cannot afford to get rid of these men who provide him with a cover to maintain the myth of being Nigeria’s Messiah and Mr. Integrity.

        • share Idea

          Aptly stated

      • Truetalk

        Shut the hell up, did you read the article at all? It did not say the contract has been awarded to the said American company. While not wait till then, before you start interpreting the procurement act. Just like Rommel has clearly pointed out, this useless article should be a hand work of those dubious Nigerians who never want anything good for this country because they will not gain from it. Then, for your miserable self, you are sick in the head.

    • Lala Hansy

      I used to see some reasons in your assertions but this singular myopic and partisan contribution of yours has simply proved you selfish and irresponsible. You are simply playing to the gallery for a self interest from your pay masters.

    • Charlie

      So we should rely on Obama to protect our interests? Since he is going to be out of a job in a few days, perhaps we should hire him as the technical advisor to Buhari and hand the country over to him. If the procurement process is truly transparent from the RFQ to award of contracts, we don’t have to worry about cronyism and dodgy dealings. All Nigerians should be clamoring for a transparent system, that’s the only way to truly fight corruption.

      • adebayo

        My brother, I don’t mind if Buhari handover power to Obama, at least the country will have a focused and tested leader. We can enact a law for him to rum our country for 4 years…This is an aspect of globalisation and Nigeria can be a very good case study.Obama for Nigeria President

  • share Idea

    If we remember last year, instead of this administration to provide plans and polices for the nation, they kept tellings us how Procurement laws have been preventing them from working. Did remember how we all woke-up and heard the president telling us that one American company is already investing about $2.1B in upgrading of Nigerian railways, even when the nation were not aware of when and how the modalities were arrived at.

  • dami

    The transmission section of the value chain is the reason why power plants are dormant and not the other way round, as the grid as is cannot evacuate the power generated, secondly there is no such thing as clean coal power, thirdly the tech is already working in other countries – go there for your proof of concept instead of spending tax payers money to conduct another proof of concept locally.
    Lastly Manitoba are in a conflict of interest position as they too would like to execute upgrades on the transmission network…no wonder they are against this one.

    • Democrate

      Then go through normal process instead of this old style of corruption

    • Charlie

      You made good points, however, it is not good for the system to go against the procurement laws. The main problem in the power sector is the lack of transparency in every facet, from licensing to awards of contracts. It only in Nigeria that we make It difficult to obtain licenses for what we don’t have enough of. By the way, there is no big deal in rehabilitating transmission lines that we cannot do in Nigeria using similar methods and materials since they are not proprietary technology.

  • yusuf Mikail

    The circumvention of rules is fraudulent and corrupt. The government has already circumvented rules in employment, appointments and now, procurement. What a country! ALL PRETENDERS!!!

  • Sam

    In as much as one would like to argue for or against this . I for one think Democracy is not the form of gov’t system for underdeveloped countries. You just look at China and you will get the jist..

    • Charlie

      We have tried dictatorship and didn’t get anywhere. America was not a developed country in 1776 and democracy did not stop its progress.

    • Julius

      I disagree. You think what’s going on in China should be emulated in Nigeria ? Have you ever paid attention to their judiciary, how they carry out justice ? . Buhari hasn’t even come close and you see the noise. Think about that. Democracy takes time and its the best of all form of government.

  • Kokoman

    The easy path to stop this project is to sue the company in america claiming that Manitoba said the technology has not been tried and tested for it to be installed in a poor country such as Nigeria at such costs.

  • Analyst

    This is the best way to raise money for 2019 election as nobody can investigate if the cables are actually upgraded or not after the award. However if the fund is put in generation of power, people can check if there is improvement in power supply. This Buhari and his team are trying to beat GEJ on stealing strategy. All their thought is how to steal better and not caught. They are not thinking how to improve the economy.

  • Stella Dominic

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  • Bash

    Good try PT – but there nothing unusual in this. At least you have quoted a section of the Act that allows for close bidding or even single sourcing where tie and efficiency is of the essence. There is no way a Government that wants to make impact on the power supply issue during its life time have the luxury of an open tender that could take two year or more to complete, which in any case could turn out with an inexperienced contractor. For such a strategic contract its perfectly ok to have guided tendering process. But I concede with you that we have a trust deficit of government officials /bureaucracy and therefore perfectly in order to be alarmed. Provided this company has the track record and the prices could be benchmarked globally its perfectly in order. It s there reason why the president need to some emergency powers to waive off some the entanglements in existing legal provision to fast track projects. Only the gullible will believe otherwise. Its the mistake Yar’adua made when he promised emergency in power sector and never got to declaring it!

    • Bash

      sorry for the typos and the grammar – in hurry to contribute

      • Julius

        Don’t worry, the usual suspect , Phd holders in English grammar will be pointing that out in a jiffy.

    • Mayo

      According to this article, there is no proof that efficiency will be gained by using single sourcing here because (based on the article), there are questions about spending money on transmission line versus spending money on power generation (which means there are questions that this project is required at all).

      You also talked about benchmarking the prices (figures quoted by this company) but since this contract is being awarded without competition, how will the government confirm or know what the market price is? Manitoba which has done work for us before raised questions/concerns about this project.

      Finally, how do you sink $1 billion of the 30 billion you are borrowing on just 1 company/area? Government’s argument for borrowing $30 billion is that it will help reflate the economy. That only happens if the money is being spent within the country but since this is a foreign firm, the bulk part of the money being paid is not going to be spent within the country (it will be remitted to the company’s home base)

      • LasgidyPort

        What of the value to the economy? If the project will enhance the capacity of TCN to wheel out all the power generation of the plants, the country will definitely benefit from the increased power. Also, there is no way Nigerian engineers will not be part of the project. Local content can be enshrined into the contract to ensure knowledge transfer to Nigerian engineers.

        Also, the article is speculative about the efficiency to be gained. Facts were not laid for us.

        Also check out Dami’s comment below, it made a lot of sense.

        • Mayo

          1) Even if Nigerian engineers are part of the project, their numbers will be a tiny fraction. Besides, government will still forfeit a huge sum from corporate tax that would have been paid if the company was registered in Nigeria.

          2) Once you go down the path of awarding a contract without bidding, the probability of enshrining local content will be very low. In addition, local content pre-supposes you have qualified local partners to execute the sub-contracts. Maybe or Maybe not

          3) In terms of efficiency, we all know that right now the amount of power being generated in abysmal so attention should be paid on generation. At best we can do both generation and transmission hand in hand and not to focus on fixing transmission at such a huge cost.

        • Mayo

          Local content is not the same as knowledge transfer.

  • Julius

    I wonder why couldn’t they just put everything out there for everybody to see and follow the process. I have an ideal why not but, you would think that a government/administration that wants us to believe that they are fighting corruption and better than the previous administration, will make sure things like this are done in a transparent ways. This is worrisome.We are watching. Thanks PT.

  • Dazmillion

    2019 is around the corner, Buhari needs to build a war chest for the fight ahead. His former investors are yet to recoup all the money they spent in 2015 due to economic down turn.

    • Doctorate

      @Dazmillion:disqus,

      The future of this Nigeria is dark and darkling

      Nigerians are inured to sufferings and they no longer desire freedom from
      thefts and frauds. Such a collection of lower creatures will be robbed to the
      last shirts on their backs and left wandering the face of the earth in smells
      like vagabonds. That is the future of Nigerians in clear words. A people who do
      not resolve to die for something as valuable and intangible as FREEDOM FROM
      THEFT are custom-made for slavery and will continue to be ruled and robbed by
      riff-raff and illiterates who are in blissful alliance and holding the treasury
      in demesne.

      There are no incorporeal hereditaments
      of freedom from thefts for Nigerian youths because the adults have eaten
      sour-grapes and set the teeth of the youths on edge. It is only in that matrix
      of youths’ anger and rejection of the delinquent adults whose intellection is
      worse than useless to the country, that some hope may come, after a bloody
      revolution of well-organized militias shall have succeeded in laying the
      country’s treasury thieves to rest in perfect peace.

  • olat

    Dis is a paid write-up from NASS.

  • Es3

    It is still part the “CHANGE” they promised gullible Nigerians?!

  • Gary

    On a side note, Mr. Atiku, you want to make continue to amass wealth through government and be President at the same time? Na only you, out of 180 million people?
    Sorry, you can’t have both. You have made oodles of money off us and risen to Vice President for eight years. All before you turned 70 last year.

    Enough already, Nigeria is not your personal estate to milk and manage as you please. Please leave us alone to find younger and better educated people to lead the country.
    I await the response of the attack dogs. Just take the time to address the issues raised.

    • David

      It’s NOT the same Atiku Abubarkar former Vice President…

  • Sylvanus Ikhide

    Thank you Premium Times but Nigerians need electricity and they do NOW! Our public procurement process needs re-examination to cut off unnecessary bureaucracy. When it comes to infrastructure, THIS COUNTRY SHOULD START RUNNING NOT CRAWLING!

    • Gary

      And when this same expediency was cited GEJs men as the reason to go arms hunting with cash on the black market to fight Boko Haram, what did the APC and its media allies allege was going on?
      Sambo Dasuki is still in detention and awaiting trial over this.

      You either have laws that are followed or have them repealed if they are found to be superfluous. That is what is meant by due process. Following procedure might be cumbersome, you know like going through NASS to appropriate rather than GEJ forming a committee of four to determine how to spend the returned Abacha loot. But due process is necessary to prevent corruption and tyranny in government.

      Imagine if Mr. Buhari decides that the regular courts are a drag on his anti-corruption agenda and decides to dispense with them and just create his owncourts to jail people, most of whom are likely to be the opposition? Sorry, that is already on the table and not a figment of my imagination.

  • Amir

    Democracy is not for illiterates. Most of us including these poorly informed journalists do not understand public procurement. There are exceptions, Buhari can move fast by declaring emergency in the power sector. There is nothing to question about this deal apart from speculation; fairness demands operators of the procurement law not to completely rely on Manitoba subjective evaluation. Illiterates should not be allowed to vote in a democracy. Ministry of Power officials were/are right not to speak on a contract still under evaluation.

    • Gary

      Ehm, if illiterates are not allowed to vote, hope you know that those currently leading this government will neither be qualified nor voted into office. I’m just saying.
      Transparency is also a needed tool to prevent and reveal corruption in government. So it is not necessary to award a billion dollar no-bid contract (that could have been split to include other companies with local subsidiaries) to just one foreign entity under the table.

      We are not babies and know how the system runs in Nigeria.

    • tsunami1earthquake

      Why don’t you address the issue squarely and stop rambling about illiterates being disenfranchised? I can see the pile-up of stench growing under this administration. And, as usual, the acrid fumes of this stench will blow off the restraining lid when this administration leaves power.

      • Amir

        You Niger Delta amnesty beneficiaries should bury your heads with your frustrations. Even your fake PHD holders were disasters with democracy talk less creek ants like you.

  • westman

    This country should start running not crawling bro.
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  • Nkem

    In

    • thusspokez

      …the more they stay the same. But don’t you just feel pity for the masses who are been taken for fools. See them come here to defend these leaders or attack everyone else. I keep telling the masses that these leaders act and behave like a tribe. Even when they are fighting one another in public, they still attend one another children’s wedding, birthday parties, etc.

      • Gary

        Please don’t let the mostly paid media mercenaries directed by Lai and Aso Rock operatives get away with representing themselves as the masses of Nigeria. They are not and the rest of us must never tire of countering their propaganda agenda to impose cult worship as substitute for robust civic discourse.
        They got away with imposing Buhari on the Nigerian people but patriotic Nigerians must now hold them accountable for the integrity in government they promised and upholding the rule of law and due process.

        Buhari must not be allowed to govern us as he did in 1984/85. Never again, so help us God.

  • International games

    JUST GIVE MONEY TO TOWNS THAT WANT TO CREATE THEIR OWN ELECTRICITY.

  • thusspokez

    The spirit of the Act is to offer all interested contractors, suppliers and consultants a level playing field on which to compete and thereby, directly expand the purchaser’s options and opportunities.

    We see this is in the awards of contract to build concrete roads in Nigeria. So far, all have gone to Aliko Dangote.

    Excellent job PremiumTimes, you are ahead of your time in Nigeria, albeit not in the world. Sadly, a large number of your readership wouldn’t understand the seriousness of the issues reported here.

  • thusspokez

    Officials at the power ministry said the $1 billion proposed for the project could fund 2,000MW of clean coal power plant.

    “This will be in addition to about four million tonnes of coal energy that could be generated out of which two million could be exported for much-needed foreign exchange,” one official said.

    Clean coal power plant? Read the following Kemi Adeosun’s blah blah blah!:

    “We want to build a coal power plant because we are a country blessed with coal, yet we have power problem. So it doesn’t take a genius to workout that it will make sense to build a coal power plant.”

    “However, we are being blocked from doing so, because it is not green. This is not fair because they have an entire western industralisation that was built on coal fired energy. “This is the competitive advantage that was used to develop Europe, yet now that Nigeria wants to do it, they say it’s not green”

    “They suggest that we use solar and wind, which is the more expensive. So yes, Africa must invest in its infrastructure, but we must also make sure that the playing field is level,” she said. Adeosun said

    –Minister of Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun in vanguardngrcome 6 OCTOBER, 2016

    • pajerow

      Build the coal plant first .haba !!!!

  • Ig

    Time for obama to collect him retirement benefit. Lol

  • pajerow

    Then impeach him if he goes ahaead on grounds of corruption , autocratic and fraudulent award of contracts e.t.c .Lawyers are able to add more names to the crime .You need to shake him .We are not in a military regime